Summertime Diabetes Management Routines: Extreme Heat Edition
Our friends in the diabetes community have recently shared some great tips on how to wear an insulin pump in the summertime and how to manage your diabetes when swimming. Today we wrap up this series as they share tips specifically for when those temperatures get really extreme. How about you – how are you braving the heat this summer?
• During a heat wave, I don't fill my pump reservoir completely - Only to about 100 units. Insulin has the potential to get “skunky” (funky, rancid smell) during a heat wave, whether you use an insulin pump or not. So I'd rather fill the reservoir less and change it more frequently. I'm also a big fan of frio insulin pump cooling wallets. I can slip my pump and tubing right in there and clip it to my person, no problem - and it keeps my insulin cool! – Kelly Kunik, living with diabetes for 35 years
• I received my first pump in the middle of a hot and humid summer in Alabama, so one of my primary concerns was always how long my pump and insulin have been roasting in the heat. When in doubt, I err on the side of changing out my reservoir for fresh insulin if I'm worried about the effects of too much heat. I make sure to have sunscreen everywhere, especially around the edges of my pump site. (Nothing hurts more than removing adhesive from a sunburn! I also watch my sites more carefully in the summer. I've found that the combination of more sweat plus a more exposed (from a swimsuit or other lighter summer clothing) pump site means a greater chance of developing an irritated or infected site compared to other times of the year. – Dana Lewis, 25 years old, living with diabetes for over 10 years
• During summer months, we both insert infusion sets on the buttocks, which keep the site out of the sand and out of sight. And for extreme heat I have used a Frio pump wallet, e.g. a long day at Disney World in Orlando in July. – Jeff Myers, Medtronic employee, living with diabetes for 31 years, talking about him and his 12-year-old son Benjamin who also has diabetes
• Extreme temperatures don’t really affect my sugar levels but it does for some people. I always work very close with my diabetes educator about adjusting my basal and temporary basal rate for outdoor summer activities. If I find that my levels are constantly dropping when I am hiking, I will adjust my temp basal accordingly. It is a very scary thing to be half through a 3 mile hike and have to hold up the group because of a very preventable hypoglycemic incident. Summer months can be easily managed with minor adjustments but the major component is preparation. – John Berry, 40 years old, living with diabetes for 8 years
• I am always careful to generously apply the prep wipe before inserting the infusion set, and then I make sure to wipe the site down again after insertion for extra sticking power! Sometimes, I apply medical tape over the site, if I know I will be swimming a lot. - Sydney Gambrill, 12 years old, living with diabetes for 5 years
Editors note: These are personal experiences from each of the individuals based on their own diabetes management. We can’t recommend or guarantee any of the tips or the products mentioned so be sure to work with your healthcare team as you make your plans for the summer.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
- Medtronic Diabetes insulin infusion pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems and associated components are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of these systems.
- Successful operation of the insulin infusion pumps and/or continuous glucose monitoring systems requires adequate vision and hearing to recognize alerts and alarms.
Medtronic Diabetes Insulin Infusion Pumps
- Insulin pump therapy is not recommended for individuals who are unable or unwilling to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day.
- Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately.
Medtronic Diabetes Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Systems
- The information provided by CGM systems is intended to supplement, not replace, blood glucose information obtained using a home glucose meter. A confirmatory fingerstick is required prior to treatment.
- Insertion of a glucose sensor may cause bleeding or irritation at the insertion site. Consult a physician immediately if you experience significant pain or if you suspect that the site is infected.
For more information, please visit: www.medtronicdiabetes.com/importantsafetyinformation.